Full Membership: What It Means, What It Offers, and Why It’s Essential

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Membership for me means access to updated information on how to treat patients. It’s also a nice tool for meeting other physicians who may have interests similar to mine.

—Colin D. Weekes, MD, PhD

As part of our series explaining the benefits of ASCO’s various membership categories, in this issue we focus on the Full Membership Category

Involvement in ASCO—the largest and most inclusive professional organization in oncology—allows those involved in cancer care to chart the very course of the field, advancing the frontiers of research, defining the standards of practice for clinical care, and influencing public policy.

Today, most of the members of ASCO belong to the category of Full Member, which comprises more than 22,000 oncology professionals, 2,800 of whom are in the first 3 years of their career and are offered discounted dues. Full Members make up 70% of ASCO’s total membership.

The Full Member category is available to experienced licensed physicians or other health professionals at the doctoral level of any nation who devote a majority of their professional activity to cancer patient care and/or research or education in the biology, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of human cancer.

Reflecting its belief that a multidisciplinary approach to care is central to the future of oncology, ASCO encompasses all oncology subspecialties; membership is available to medical oncologists, hematologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, pediatric oncologists, and gynecologic oncologists.

Discounts for Early-career Professionals

Full membership was one of ASCO’s original membership categories when the organization was founded in 1964. In 1999 ASCO began offering discounted dues to physicians for the first 3 years after completion of an oncology subspecialty training program. The discounted dues savings, coupled with resources tailored to early-career oncologists, make ASCO an essential resource for the professional just starting out in cancer care.

Sarah Foster Adams, MD, has been a Full Member with discounted dues for 2 and a half years now. She is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and practices at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center.

“Membership in ASCO is a great thing for people new to the practice of medicine, and the fact that ASCO offers us a discount when we’re just starting out is really helpful,” Dr. Adams said.

Updates on Research, Valuable Networking, Leadership Skills

Colin D. Weekes, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has been a member since 1999, starting out in the category of Member in Training, then progressing to Full Member with discounted dues, and now Full Member.

“Membership for me means access to updated information on how to treat patients,” said Dr. Weekes, a gastrointestinal oncologist and clinical investigator with his own lab. “It’s also a nice tool for meeting other physicians who may have interests similar to mine.”

Dr. Weekes commented that when a patient of his relocates, he uses ASCO to help find a colleague to care for that patient in his or her new location. ASCO offers many ways for members to get to know other professionals, from attendance at the Annual Meeting and Symposia to the organization’s social networking resources, free ASCO Tumor Boards, and participation in one of more than 100 committees, subgroups, and working groups.

“Membership is career enhancing,” added Dr. Weekes, who has served on several ASCO committees and for the last 3 years has sat on the Scientific Program Committee. “It has provided a very valuable way to gain leadership skills. As an example, I’ve given talks at ASCO meetings.”

Registration Discounts, Advanced Housing Access

One of the most recognized membership benefits that has been cited by ASCO members is the 20% to 60% savings off the nonmember registration rate at the ASCO Annual Meeting and ASCO Symposia. In addition, advance access to members-only housing and registration gives members access to the most sought-after hotels for the Annual Meeting.

Full Members have an exclusive benefit at the Annual Meeting in that only ASCO Full Members may sponsor more than one abstract. Thus, Full Members may sponsor their own meeting abstracts as well as the work of their colleagues for presentation at the meeting.

Free Journals, Practice Support, Educational and Clinical Products

Free print subscriptions and online access to the Journal of Clinical Oncology and the Journal of Oncology Practice are significant benefits enjoyed by individuals in the Full Member category. Additionally, members have access to Cancer in the News and receive ASCO Express, The ASCO Post, and ASCO Connection.

ASCO’s educational products offer important resources for oncology professionals. Members save 20% to 50% on all of these products and resources, such as ASCO’s Maintenance of Certification modules and the full library of images and illustrations in the Oncology Slide Library from ASCO University.

ASCO’s clinical guidelines and practice management and reimbursement resources also represent significant benefits of membership. These resources provide information and tools to improve quality and efficiency in practice. Among these valuable programs are the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), the Coding and Reimbursement Service, and ASCO’s Clinical Practice Guidelines, which are supported by slide sets, decision aids, and patient guides.

Retention in the Full Member category is very high because members find value in what ASCO offers.

To learn more about the benefits available to Full Members and Full Members with discounted dues, as well as the benefits in other ASCO membership categories, please visit ■

© 2012. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.